Even before the greatest Pentecostal revival in America started on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, Jennie Evans Moore Seymour felt the call of God for ministry, and is reported to be the first woman in California to speak in tongues.
She was born in Austin, Texas in 1874 but later moved to Los Angeles to find work. She became a cook, working for an influential White family. During this time, she lived at 217 North Bonnie Brae Street, almost directly across the street from where William J. Seymour started what became the Azusa Street Revival.
Jennie attended the meetings regularly and soon received a vision in which she was speaking 6 languages, including Spanish, French and Greek.
On April 6, 1906, the year the revival broke forth, believers were swept to their knees as William Seymour prayed. Jennie fell to the floor and immediately began speaking in all six languages she saw in her vision, and each message was interpreted in English, marveling everyone. Immediately following this, Jenni, who had never played the piano, went to the instrument and began to pay quite skillfully while singing. The Revival of Azusa Street continued and 2 years later, William Seymour married Jennie, who continued to play the piano for services.
She was an evangelist, a city missionary, and a worship leader, and was a tremendous influence in the evolution of the holiness and Pentecostal movements. After the death of her husband in 1922, Evangelist Jennie Seymour continued as pastor of the Azusa Street congregation until her health deteriorated. She died in 1936.
Most major Pentecostal denominations grew out of or were influenced by the Azusa Street movement and Wililam and Jennie Seymour. This includes Church of God in Christ, Assemblies of God, Church of God, and United Pentecostal Church. Today, there are over 500 million Pentecostals in the world.
Jennie’s home on Bonnie Brae Street was converted to a museum and the piano she played under the Spirit’s anointing is still there.